Executive Committee

Immediate Past President

KERRI BLACKMAN, ASLA
Landscape Designer

Kerri designs residential and small-scale commercial projects in the metropolitan Washington, DC area. She has also been responsible for project management and crew oversight. Kerri has consulted with over 800 individual clients and successfully completed over 300 design/build projects. She enjoys working with people and is dedicated to each of their unique visions and needs.

Kerri graduated in 2011 from the College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY with a Bachelor’s Degree in Landscape Architecture. She was an active member of the ASLA Student Chapter and served consecutive terms as Secretary and President of the chapter. Kerri has been an active member of the Potomac Chapter for the past 5 years, serving as member-at-large, committee chair, and president-elect.

President

MATTHEW JOHNSTON, PLA, ASLA
Associate, MVLA

Matthew Johnston is a registered landscape architect with MVLA, an award-winning design firm in Alexandria, VA.  He received his Masters of Landscape Architecture and Masters of Urban Planning degrees from Virginia Tech, and is an enthusiastic member of the professional design community represented by the Potomac Chapter of ASLA.

Matt’s background in international relations, urban planning, and landscape architecture informs his commitment to bring the benefits of design to more people.  He previously served as Chapter Coordinator for the DC chapter of Architecture for Humanity, and he’s a member of the Potomac Yard Design Advisory Committee for the City of Alexandria, helping to shape development in a growing urban corridor.

President-Elect

ANNIE VARMA, RLA, ASLA
Senior Associate, Lee and Associates, Inc.

Annie Varma is a Senior Associate with Lee and Associates, a landscape architecture firm based in Washington D.C. She holds a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture with a minor in Cultural Heritage and Museum Practices from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from India. Over the past 10 years as a professional, she has worked in diversified Landscape Architecture, Historic Preservation, and Architecture & Planning firms and brings the knowledge of Heritage Conservation and waterfront design based on her graduate study. She has published her work twice and actively pursues and researches green and sustainable initiatives, in both her urban design projects and professional development pursuits. Her current work includes a broad spectrum of projects ranging from mixed-use residential, playgrounds and parks, streetscape and public realm design, and master planning projects. She also loves to volunteer for community causes and providing pro-bono graphic design assistance to emerging entrepreneurs.

Trustee

ROBERT B. TILSON, FASLA, PLA
Landscape Architect/PB

Rob Tilson, FASLA, PLA has held many positions for the Potomac Chapter. Most notably, he has served as a two-time President from 1993-1994, two-term Trustee from 1998-2003. While serving in these capacities, Rob represented the chapter on the Virginia Licensure Committee (1998-2001), 100 Parks/100 Years Program Committee (1998), and the Centennial Medallion Program Committee (1998). Rob also instituted and re-organized the Nominating Committee for the Chapter and served as Chairman from 2002 to 2003. He co-chaired the Host Committee for the 2010 ASLA National Meeting in Washington, DC.

Nationally, Rob has served in several capacities including ASLA Vice-President of Professional Practice from 2004-2005. During his tenure as Vice President, Rob helped launch the SITES initiative and revamped the Professional Practice Network program and led the Archive Committee to help establish the Fellows database. Rob also served as the Board of Trustees Representative on the Landscape Architecture Foundation Board (2003). In 2005, Rob was recognized as a Fellow for his service to the profession.

As Chapter Trustee, Rob will concentrate on increasing Chapter visibility with other allied professions, work to finalize our licensure status with the District of Columbia and serve as a leader within the ASLA Board of Trustees.

Rob received his Landscape Architecture degree from Purdue University and has been practicing landscape architecture in the Washington, DC metro area for over 30 years. Rob is licensed in Virginia.

Secretary

CARLA ELLERN, RLA, ASLA, LEED® AP BD+C
Landscape Architect

Carla Ellern, ASLA, LEED® AP BD+C is a registered landscape architect with Lila Fendrick Landscape Architects in Chevy Chase, MD. She received her Master’s in Landscape Architecture from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard and would like to spread the word about what landscape architects do through her involvement with Potomac ASLA. In the public sector, she worked for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Montgomery County, Maryland in the RainScapes program where she worked with homeowners and communities to reduce stormwater runoff. She’s interested in improving the environment and people’s lives by expanding green infrastructure and sustainability in our landscapes.

Treasurer

MATTHEW SELLERS, PLA, ASLA, LEED GA
Landscape Architect, Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute

Matthew Sellers is a 19-year resident of the DC area, moving here from Ohio for graduate school at Virginia Tech in Alexandria, VA. His education is in urban planning and landscape architecture. He is a landscape architect licensed in the state of Maryland, and member of ASLA. His professional history includes work with the landscape architecture firms Sephenson + Good (9 years) and Clinton & Associates (5 years). He also taught courses in the Landscape Design and Sustainable Landscapes program at George Washington University (12 years). Matthew’s experience includes the design and construction administration of residential gardens, public plazas, playgrounds, perimeter security master plans, multi-acre mixed-use neighborhood developments, and animal habitats. Currently he works in the Office of Planning and Strategic Initiatives at Smithsonian’s National Zoo providing thoughtful and creative planning and design solutions for the Zoo’s visitors and inhabitants.

Members-At-Large

BRAD BARTELL, ASLA
Senior Designer / Business Developer Manager
Charles P. Johnson & Associates, Inc.

Brad Bartell has 30 years of international and domestic and private and public-sector experience.  A registered landscape architect, land planner, and golf course designer, Bartell has been involved in the entitlements process and in planning and landscape design of single-family and large-scale residential communities, parks, commercial developments, roadway projects, urban and green street streetscapes, sports complexes, large warehouse projects, office parks, church campuses, and 35 new and 50 renovated golf courses.

With a comprehensive background in construction management, Bartell creates notable, revenue-generating, environmentally sensitive, visually pleasing, efficient projects by shaping design concepts with his extensive on-site work, with each phase of development or redevelopment in the hands of a proven industry expert.

Bartell approaches landscape and hardscape design with the demands of the site, the project vision, and the customer’s wishes, in mind. Materials are selected based largely on their indigenous nature and their adaptability to the site. Harmonizing all the elements of the landscape results in an environmentally sensitive, visually pleasing, efficient system of outdoor space, adding character and value to the development.

LAURIE BETH DONNACHIE, ASLA, PLA
Landscape Architect

Laurie Beth Donnachie earned a Bachelor’s of Landscape Architecture from The Pennsylvania State University in 2011. She is a licensed landscape architect in Virginia and Pennsylvania.  Laurie Beth is also an ISA certified Arborist and holds a certificate in Healthcare Garden Design.  Her work experience includes many phases of residential development spanning from neighborhood layout through private garden installation.

LINDSAY HAND, Associate ASLA, PLA
Designer, Oehme, van Sweden
 

Lindsay Hand has worked as a designer with Oehme, van Sweden since 2017. At OvS, Lindsay is involved in multifamily housing developments, plazas, memorials, institutions, and residential gardens. Her primary areas of focus include planting design, hand-sketching, construction documentation, and technical management. She is a licensed Landscape Architect in the state of Colorado.

Ms. Hand earned a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Colorado State University in 2017.

JULES KRINSKY, PLA, ASLA
Landscape Architect, Rhodeside & Harwell

Jules Krinsky is a creative problem solver, landscape architect and urban designer who has worked in the Washington Metropolitan area since 2012.  Currently, Jules works as a Landscape Architect with the multi-disciplinary firm Rhodeside & Harwell in Alexandria, VA.  At Rhodeside & Harwell, Jules works on projects ranging from small local parks to US Embassy projects around the world and everything in between.

Jules received a bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture at the University of Georgia and a Master’s of Science in urban design at Georgia Tech.  He is a licensed Landscape Architect in the State of Maryland.

STEPHEN E. McLAUGHLIN, RLA, ASLA
Landscape Architect

Steve McLaughlin is a landscape architect from Silver Spring, Maryland, who has been practicing in the Baltimore/Washington National Capital Region for two decades.  Since January 2015 he has been fulfilling a contract with the U.S. Department of State to provide subject matter expertise in landscape architecture as a supervisor of site design for American diplomatic missions world-wide, and as a code official for landscape-related design standards.

Steve has previously been employed with several architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, and other consulting firms of various sizes; serving a broad mix of clientele including the Departments of State and Defense, and other federal agencies, for domestic and international projects ranging very widely in scale and scope.  In a self-employed capacity he has also designed residences, additions, decks, patios and gardens.  His first career was as a U.S. naval officer.

Steve has a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in landscape architecture from Louisiana State University; is certified by CLARB; and professionally registered in Maryland.  He was previously a member of the Maryland Chapter ASLA.

STEPHANIE ROA, ASLA
Designer, LandDesign
 

Stephanie Roa is a designer at LandDesign – a highly-collaborative design firm offering urban design, planning, landscape architecture, civil engineering and branding services both nationally and internationally. She is a professional landscape architect licensed in her home state of Maryland and enjoys working at a variety of scales ranging from urban mixed-use developments to agrarian-focused master planned communities to small-scale complex site design. As a socially responsible designer, Stephanie is passionate about creating high-performance landscapes that strengthen connections between people and place. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Maryland, College Park and is an advocate for sustainable landscape solutions, achieving both LEED Green Associate and SITES AP credentials. Stephanie is a contributing writer for Land8, where she enjoys writing about the pressing issues and transformative innovations that are driving the profession forward.

MICHAEL STELFOX, Associate ASLA
Landscape Designer, Oehme, van Sweden
 

Michael Stelfox is a designer at Oehme, van Sweden. Previously he led community engagement in Virginia Beach as a Sea Grant Fellow with Clark Nexsen, assisted with a trail study for the National Park Service, and designed for single-family residential, multifamily residential, and commercial landscapes.

Michael earned his Bachelor’s of Landscape Architecture from Virginia Tech in 2018.

ABIGAIL THOMAS, PLA, ASLA, CBLP
Landscape Architect, Associate | Ayers Saint Gross

The foundations of Abby’s career lie in her interests of sustainable design and the impacts of environmental and social geographies in the landscape. She is an alumna of Penn State University, where she obtained a BA in Landscape Architecture and minor in Geography. Her education fed her curiosities of how people relate to the landscape and use outdoor spaces, as well as the social and cultural aspects that societies have on the land at all scales. She has found the DMV area to be rich in opportunities to exploit her interests and use her design skills and education to create spaces for everyone.

Both her degree and minor were complimented by studying abroad and exploring places in North America, Europe, and Africa. Abby has experience in community design, commercial-residential design, campus design/planning, and high-end residential design in the Chesapeake Bay region. She is currently an Associate and Landscape Architect at Ayers Saint Gross, where she works primarily on college, university, and hospital campuses. Additionally, she is a member of the Public Relations Committee at Ayers Saint Gross and enjoys participating in the many volunteer and community opportunities there. She is co-chair of the Potomac ASLA Emerging Professionals Committee, likes to volunteer her time to the community when she can, and also takes interest in personal creative endeavors involving graphic design and photography.

Executive Director

Susan Newman

Prior to being named Executive Director of the Potomac Chapter of ASLA, Newman served as Executive Director of Corporate Facility Advisors (CORFAC International), an alliance of entrepreneurial commercial real estate firms. For more than 20 years, she was Secretary General (CEO) of the U.S. Chapter of the International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI), also serving as interim Secretary General for the international body during part of that time.

With more than 30 years in association management, Newman works with boards and volunteers and is responsible for the administration of the association, as well as membership retention and services.